Exiled South Sudanese rebel leader Riek Machar’s release from his forced confinement in South Africa won’t be decided by the region – but by parties at the ongoing peace talks in Addis Ababa, African Union chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat said.
“Everything is left to the parties. It is our hope that this peace will be inclusive and final,” Mouss Faki, chairman of the AU commission said in Addis Ababa.
He stressed the importance of a breakthrough in the ongoing talks to end the civil war that has led to millions fleeing to neighbouring countries.
Machar signed a peace accord in 2015 with President Salva Kiir, but the deal fell apart in July 2016, leading to deadly clashes in the capital Juba.
Machar fled to Congo and then went to Sudan for treatment. He then travelled to South Africa where he is being held to prevent him from going back to his country.
The decision was reportedly reached by IGAD countries in order to keep him away in the hope of preventing fighting in the world’s youngest nation.
Inter-Government Authority on Development (IGAD), is an 8-member economic bloc that brings together Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan, Eritrea, South Sudan, Kenya and Uganda.